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Bold Strokes

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The ominous glow of Suramars shield cast down upon the cobblestoned paths twisting around the cities alleys. The bustle of the bazaar quieting down to a distant hum the further down the city you went, and today, Ervine was going very, very far down. Nevertheless, he wore a disguise, his deep blue skin brightened to a pale purple, his dark hair bleached to a brilliant white, his nose smaller, his eyes less calculating. If he saw someone he knew, they wouldn’t recognise him and he very much suspected he would run into someone he was painfully familiar with.

Idly flicking a shard of mana in his hand as he leaned up again an alley wall, other lowlifes walking past offering him a brief glance but not playing him much mind, people down this end of the city were considered lowborn despite them all being Shal’dorei. The people the nobles were content to ignore and the first to starve when there was a mana drought. Forgettable, extendable and completely invisible. Exactly why one of them was elected for a visit from a certain nightborne noble.

Ervine’s eyes darted as he saw him. Kaiden Ailelumi. His father. The tall man skulked quietly past his son, unknown to him who he was beneath his disguise, Ervine was careful not to let his eyes linger for too long. Kaiden was in a long cloak, his hood up hiding his face that was almost identical to Ervine’s own. The similarities ended at the physical appearance.

Ervine followed. Kaiden was nervous, it came off him in waves but he was also rushed. Rushing creates mistakes. His son was about to educate him about that. Kaiden came to a halt at a small house. As pristine and beautiful as everything else in Suramar, but something about it felt....uncomfortable. The door opened to Kaiden, a woman with short white hair opening the door, her light blue skin shimmering in the dim light. She was a naturally stunning woman, something about her face just made you just want to stare at her in awe...but she also looked tired and run down. Like her house.

She ushered Kaiden in, leaving the door open a brief moment too long, allowing Ervine to teleport toward, a shadow of invisibility covering him as he uttered a spell and slipped through the door as the woman pushed it closed.

“Did you feel that?” The woman asked Kaiden “Like a burst of magic?...”

Kaiden pulled his hood down and offered the woman a tired smile, “Could have been me, I’m not as in control of my magic as I once was” he held up a shaking hand for emphasis, it was indeed shaking and shimmering with untamed flicks of mana. The woman’s expression became concerned, she walked forward and held the shaking hand,

“You poor thing, that must exhaust you”

“It’s not so bad, Evangeline. I have access to enough mana for it not to be an issue”

Ervine watched silently, carefully positioning himself so when his invisibility ran out he was still out of sight and had an easy exit. The corner leading up to a short stairwell worked well enough, he’d exit soon...he just needed a bit more evidence to confirm his suspicions.

“Did you just come here to talk about mana or are you after something” Evangeline offered coyly to which Kaiden chuckled gently,

“No, my dear. You know why I’m here”

The pair smiled at each other before shifting forward and pressing their lips together.

Ervine had to suppress a shuddering breath at the raw feeling of betrayal he felt at the action. He had suspected that his father had been seeing someone other than his mother for months, but to have his suspicions confirmed so undeniably in front of him. He had to tell his brother and mother...they deserved to know...they-

Stars help him he couldn’t do it. If he felt such grief at this revelation, how would they feel? They were more emotional than he was….much, much more. It would destroy them. And what would they do with Kaiden? Kick him out? Could they even do that? And what would he do if they could? Ervine knew what he would do- he’d kill himself. In one action Ervine would ruin two of his family and kill the other.

His invisibility was fading. He shifted around the stairwell corner and narrowly avoid a person coming down it.

“Mother?” it called, the voice swiftly jolted the lovers apart and across the room before the owner of the voice could see them.

“Yes, Vedrorn?” Evangeline spoke patiently, looking a male nightborne with skin likes hers.

“Heard someone come in, just thought I’d check it wasn’t trouble”

“No kitten” she paused “this is a friend of mine, he’s helping with the home and mana situation. Go upstairs and check on Jas for me while we’re talking”

Vedrorn looked unconvinced but obeyed, either way, trailing back the way he came, walking past Ervine just as his invisibility and disguise ran out. Watching the male nightborne walk away, a thought struck;

Just kill them.

He thought about it. No-one would care if a bunch of lowborn went missing, people would assume they got stuck outside the shield and starved....the affair would be removed from existence...he wouldn’t need to tell his mother and brother.

Of course, Evangeline’s children would need to be taken care off too, loose ends and all that but he could see it working. He could take care of the children now and end Evangeline once his father left.

Silently, Ervine trailed upstairs pushing open the first door and finding a closet-sized room, on the small space on the floor a back was facing him. He mentally cursed, it was a little girl, similar in appearance to the ‘Vedrorn’ that had been downstairs. This girl couldn’t have been older than 10. Ervine didn’t really want to murder a child...

He closed the door quietly. He’d deal with her last, give him a chance to decide what to do. He’d deal with the brother first. There were only two doors left, and one was open, an empty room and an open window. Possible escape. Ervine went out on a whim and decided the brother was in the closed room.

He took out the small dagger he always kept of his person, pushing open the door to look into a slightly bigger room. It appeared empty but there were corners he couldn’t see around. He teleports in slicing his blade towards one corner then the other.

They were both empty.

Ervine blinked in brief confusion before he felt a presence above him, his surprise at being caught off guard made his reactions slow, a body slamming into him and knocking him to the floor. Ervine looked up at his attacker to see the man who had answered to Vedrorn standing before him.

“Thought I sensed something on the stairwell” he huffed “You hide your magic well, just not well enough”

Regaining his senses, Ervine pushed himself to his feet, while Vedrorn clearly expected him to attack again, but Ervine found himself struggling to move forward. “Not many people can see through my spellwork so easily” he commented before he forced himself to finish what he started “Have you had training?”

Vedrorn watched him, perhaps to see if he was asking questions as a distraction. “No”

Surprising.

The white-haired man frowned, “what are you doing here? You’re not a robber I know that much”

“How would you know that?”

“Because I’m poor as dirt and you have that smug expression every rich asshole has”

Fair enough.

“Your deduction is correct, I see you have a certain talent in observation as well as spellwork”

“Wow, a compliment. Maybe you’re not a rich asshole.”

Despite himself, Ervine huffed in amusement “No, I am. Just not such a linear ‘rich asshole’”

Vedrorn snorted slightly as he laughed, “Lucky me”

Ervine debated to himself what to say next...to tell the truth as to why he was here? Kill him? Or...

“I apologise for the break-in” he spoke carefully “I was following someone and they turned back, I had to duck for cover in a nearby house, the window in your upstairs bedroom was open.”
Ervine was grateful he made a note of the window in the third room as a possible escape. It made his lie convincing.

“Following someone?”

“Yes, I think they’re blackmailing a friend into voting for certain political opinions, I needed evidence”

Vedrorn didn’t look 100% convinced but he nodded either way “The things you noble types have to worry yourself with” he rolled his eyes “our only problems are not starving to death, your life must be so hard”

“Are...are we competing to see who struggles more? I don’t understand the comment”

“No, I’m just being bitter. Sorry” he shifted his eyes slightly “I’d offer an arcwine but like I said-” he pats his pockets for empathsis “poor”

Ervine shakes his head “I don’t expect hospitality, I broke into your home”

“Oh yeah. Almost forgot” he grinned “almost charmed me into ignoring the fact you came into my room swinging a knife”

“Corners make me nervous”

“Bet they do”

He should be leaving. He really should, he’s already overstayed and risked being caught. He’s already ruined his own plan. He’s already-”

“What's your name, noble?”

Ervine blinked a moment before Vedrorn shrugged “I’m not going to report you, I’m just curious”

A pause “Ervine”

“Ervine….?”

“Ailelumi”

Vedrorns eyes widened a fraction “Oh shit. That noble, huh?” he rubbed his neck awkwardly “I’m surprised you’d even talk to me. You could have left without explaining yourself and not paid any consequence”

“No-one should be devoid of consequence no matter their noble ranking”

The men looked at each other for a brief moment. Vedrorn spoke first,

“Want to get a drink? There is a good bar near here”

To his surprise, Ervine felt himself nodding, “Sure”